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Blog Post Featured Image

A Vintage Game Scene Small Bore Rigby Rifle

Game scene rifles of the pre war era have always seemed thin on the ground and outside of the great Mahrajah's and the occasional ostentatious aristocrat, the majority of double rifles tended to be of the traditional house scroll engraved format.  An Englishman was far more reserved and refined in his tastes!

J. Rigby Rifle #17394-3787-Edit

This pretty little Rigby in .256 rimmed is one of those exceptional little rifles that you would like to own just because the engraving takes you back to the golden age of big game hunting when the continents of India and Africa competed for the attentions of the avid big game hunter.  Beautifully engraved with game scenes of Indian big game including tiger, leopard, black buck, sambar and cheetal deer, all credit must be paid to the engraver who most likely had never viewed any of these game animals live and most certainly not from some download off the internet.

The small calibre of the rifle, single trigger and stepped breach only add to the delicate nature of both the rifle and game scenes.  Completed in 1907 for H.H Maharana of Udaipur it has obviously been well used without being over-abused and surely if it could speak would have many an exciting story to tell!

J. Rigby Rifle #17394-3763-Edit J. Rigby Rifle #17394-3730-Edit The Bissell or Rigby 'rising bite' third fastener.

J. Rigby Rifle #17394-3731-EditJ. Rigby Rifle #17394-3747-EditWonderfully detailed Indian big game scenes throughout.

J. Rigby Rifle #17394-3742-EditStepped breach, dipped edge lock plate and single trigger.


  • Gary Duffey on June 2, 2017 at 7:38 am

    There are so many attributes to this rifle it is hard to highlight them all. I like the step down treatment past the chambers. This is I think the nicest pre-war Rigby I have seen without gold beyond the makers name. The engraving is wonderful, and the chambering is very useful. It appears to be in the original case with accessories and tools. Two deluxe features I notice are the push button safety release, a version of a stalking trigger and the single trigger. Just a fantastic rifle in every way. What a joy it would be to load for and use.

  • Neill on June 2, 2017 at 10:17 am

    A very nice, elegant rifle. The Rigby rising bite is an interesting concept, one they have revived with considerable success. I guess it is rather like your droplocks, a unique feature of the maker.

  • Vance Daigle on June 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Good Day Trigger,

    What a wonderful gun this is. I love the engraving, having a scope is also a nice touch for that era gun...Thanks for the story!!

    In Christ

  • Chris Dolan on June 2, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I find early game scene engraving to be endlessly charming. Today we're quite hung up on (expecting) photorealism. And, it is to be admired, but so are the early works (for one because, as mentioned, an image from which to work was likely not at hand or, if so, was of limited representative value!).

  • David Hodo on June 3, 2017 at 4:10 am

    You have been very busy finding us "new" guns and rifles to rejoice over since the new site has come on line. This Rigby I really like! Oh what a collection I would have if I were made of money! Keep checking Westley's vault for other "new" finds!!!
    David Hodo

  • Chris Buckingham on June 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Maybe I am old fashioned, but I find the engraving on this gun in far better taste than the modern ostentatious chunky offerings that we see now, is it just no longer possible to produce this style of engraving today?

  • Alec Swan on April 17, 2019 at 2:18 am

    My apologies for my late arrival to the conversation. The rifle concerned is indeed, quite delightful and for all the reasons given! As has already been mentioned, that the engravers managed to depict game accurately when it would have been highly unlikely that the artist had ever seen the creatures in the flesh, is remarkable. Perhaps they simply relied upon the work, the likes of Millais and of Landseer - we'll never know!
    Of particular interest to me is the single trigger. I have an elderly Rigby hammer shotgun here, or at least, what remains of it, and of the 1870s with what appears to be a trigger system of William Nobbs design - except that unlike the rifle illustrated it has no stop peg on the back of the blade.
    Nobbs didn't patent his S/T until 1897 but that doesn't mean that he didn't have the system 'in-development' for many years before he took out his patent.
    Is it known who's trigger system it is, which has been employed in the rifle illustrated?

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